Testing breathalyzers while working remotely? The Sejm debated the bill

The Sejm led the first reading of the government’s draft amendment to the labor law, which, among other things, permanently introduces remote work into the regulations. The concept also assumes that employers can introduce frugality control of employees.

Deputy Minister Szwed, who presented the main principles of the project, said that the ministry was receiving demands from both workers’ and employers’ organizations to include the possibility of permanent remote work in the labor law. He noted that this form of work proved especially necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the deputy head of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, permanent remote work could encourage more workers to offer it in their place of residence.

“Due to the increased availability of work that can be performed outside the workplace, the entry into force of the proposed Regulation could have a positive impact on the situation of families caring for dependents”

remarked the Swede.

Under the proposal, the employer will – as a rule – not be able to refuse to work remotely, eg parents raising a child up to the age of 4, parents and guardians who care for a person with a disability in their family and pregnant women. Unless it is not possible due to the organization of the work or the type of work that the employee performs, for example, uniformed services.

The Secretary of State explained that remote work will consist of performing work in whole or in part at a place specified by the employee and each time agreed with the employer.

“Distance work can be agreed upon at the conclusion of the employment contract or already during the employment in the form of amendments to the terms of the employment contract, for which the written form is not required”

– added the deputy minister.

He stressed that the employer would be required to provide a remote worker with work materials and tools, including technical aids for remote work. The employer – he added – will also be obliged to cover costs directly related to performing remote work, if such an obligation is included in the contract or regulations.

The State Secretary emphasized that the proposed scheme also provides for the establishment of foundations for employers to include preventive sobriety checks on employees.

Based on the draft, the employer is obliged to prohibit an employee whose body is found to contain alcohol or a substance similar to alcohol. This also applies if there is a reasonable suspicion that the employee has appeared at work in a state of intoxication, after using alcohol or a substance similar to alcohol, or has drunk alcohol or has taken the above-mentioned substances during work.

The police can also test an employee’s sobriety and test for the presence of alcohol-like substances in their body.

In the debate on the project, Barbara Bartuś (PiS) stated that: the draft should be submitted to the parliamentary codification committee, which will consider any comments. “The directions presented in this project are supported by the Law and Justice party. We hope that this project will be processed quickly and that these provisions will be quickly implemented for the benefit of the employer and employees,” said Bartuś.

Izabela Mrzygłocka (KO) pointed out that the project raises a lot of doubts among both employees and employers. According to the deputyand the article specifying under which circumstances remote working cannot be used needs clarification. “In practice, with regard to the practice of widespread professions, we must understand” unpleasant odors “or” intense pollution “” – be the deputy.

In addition, as she added, the rules for reimbursement of costs incurred by an employee in connection with performing telework need to be clarified. She announced that the KO club will request that the project be referred for further work in the codification committee.

Rafał Adamczyk from the left criticized the date of entry into force of the provisions. According to the deputy, the period of 14 days from the publication of the law in the Journal of Laws is too short to implement the changes. “At the moment, no employer has entered into a dialogue with trade unions or employee representatives, because, from the point of view of common sense, we are waiting for the final form of the regulation” – he noted. He added that the “disputable point” during the consultations in the Social Dialogue Council was the reimbursement of the costs of remote work and the lack of specific rules in this area.

The left-wing party requested referral of the bill for further work in the committee.

On the other hand, Bożena Żelazowska (Koalicja Polska) judged that providing remote work as support for parents is a good solution in the project. She stressed that while the proposed provisions are good, they need to be refined during the work in the committee.

According to Grzegorz Braun (Confederation), the solutions discussed are “pandemic plus, 2.0 turbo”. The MP argued that “it is a temporary and apparent convenience to allow a deeper invasion of privacy, in the privacy of the home.” “You regulate the procedures that allow you to intervene with a breathalyzer or other devices,” Braun said.

He announced the submission of a motion to reject the bill in first reading.

Michał Gramatyka (Poland 2050) ruled that changes in the labor law are socially foreseeable, although some provisions raise doubts. “There are some reservations about the dimension of teleworking. For example, 24 days a year were indicated for so-called incidental telework. That’s very little. Before the pandemic, the norm of so-called homework in one day was a week. And this is 52 days a year “- noted Grammar. He stated that he was willing to work on this project in the committee.

In response to the doubts of the deputies, State Secretary Szwed has expressed his willingness to continue working on the draft in the committee, including the entry into force of the proposed changes.

Vice-chairman of the Sejm, Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska, announced that the vote on the motion to reject the bill in first reading will be held at the next Sejm session, scheduled for July 6-7.

Source: PAP, niezalezna.pl

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